You probably have a good idea about what Winstrol (Stanozolol) can do for you, but are you familiar with all the side effects of this steroid?
We can be mislead into thinking that Winstrol is a “mild steroid”, and while it really is more mild in many ways compared to the most powerful steroids, the side effects are nothing to gloss over.
In fact some of them can be deadly serious and that’s why I wanted to find out everything there is to know about Winstrol’s risks before deciding if this is really something I should be using.
Some of Winstrol’s side effects might be familiar to you, but it’s alarming to think a lot of guys (and girls) are brushing off the most serious risks to health that this steroid can cause.
Author’s Note: The following guide is based on my personal experience and does NOT promote the illegal use of steroids (PEDs).
In this guide, you'll learn:
- What is Winstrol (Stanozolol)
- What does Winstrol do?
- Short-Term Winstrol Side Effects
- Long-Term Winstrol Side Effects
- Estrogenic Side Effects
- Androgenic Side Effects
- Hepatotoxic Side Effects
- HPTA and Endogenous Testosterone Production Side Effects
- Cardiovascular Side Effects
- Women Specific Side Effects
- Is Winstrol Safe?
- Final Thoughts
What is Winstrol (Stanozolol)
Stanozolol is an anabolic-androgenic steroid and the most well known brand name of this hormone is Winstrol. Winstrol’s history goes way back to 1959.
A few years later it was approved by the FDA to be used to treat certain medical conditions like hereditary angioedema (HAE) which is a rare condition resulting in inflammation and swelling, as well as breast cancer, anemia and blood flow conditions like chronic venous insufficiency.
It has also been used as a secondary treatment for other conditions including vascular disorders and growth failure. It has potential to be used as a treatment for osteoporosis and skeletal muscle injuries.
But what Stanozolol is most famous for is its prolific use (in the past at least) by some of the most elite athletes in the world. This is a true performance enhancement steroid, rather than one used to make you massive.
The fact is that athletes don’t want a substance that will cause them to put on bulk, and that’s why Winstrol has been such a staple in the athletics world for so long.
Winstrol is derived from dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which comes with some benefits compared to testosterone-derived steroids. Most notable is the complete lack of estrogenic activity because DHT can not aromatize – this is a great benefit for bodybuilding and physique shaping users where water retention and associated bloating is the enemy.
What does Winstrol do?
Winstrol’s fame and reputation can lead many of us to automatically believe it’s the perfect steroid for any use. In fact Winstrol is quite specific in its benefits and results and only those who know how and when to use it are going to reap the rewards of this compound.
Steroid novices often assume that ALL steroids will help you gain huge mass, but Winstrol doesn’t fall into that category – at least not for males. The two groups of users who will benefit the most from Winstrol’s effects are:
- Athletes wanting performance enhancement
- Competitive bodybuilders and physique models
Winstrol’s legendary performance enhancing effects directly boost strength, power and speed.
Winstrol is a popular contest preparation steroid thanks to its superb ability to remove fluid and promote a hard, vascular and heavily defined physique. However you must be already very lean to get the most from these benefits.
Despite the fact some users can experience sort joints on Winstrol, it is known to be good for bone strength (as it is a possible treatment for osteoporosis) and for improving the strength of tendons.
Females using Winstrol can experience some different benefits, most importantly is the ability to gain some nice lean muscle as well as the performance benefits. Most women will be using Winstrol to make lean muscle gains and for physique optimization in the weeks prior to a competition.
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Short-Term Winstrol Side Effects
Short term side effects of Winstrol are those which will normally only occur while you’re using the steroid, and should subside once you’ve stopped. These are usually mostly mild annoying side effects, but can also include more serious complications in some people.
- Sore joints: Many Winstrol users complain of joint pain, and this is due to Winstrol’s pretty extreme drying effects and impacts people who are on more extreme cutting or contest prep phases where a lean physique can add extra stress to joints. Some users find the pain is too much and have to stop Winstrol completely while others can push through it.
- Acne: If you are prone to acne then you’re likely to have it while using Winstrol. It is almost certain to disappear once you stop your cycle.
- Testosterone suppression: Winstrol will be quite suppressive to testosterone and certainly requires use of a testosterone steroid during your cycle, as well as PCT afterwards.
Short term female side effects at high Winstrol doses can include voice deepening and growth of body hair. When Winstrol use is stopped these features should quickly fade away.
Long-Term Winstrol Side Effects
In circumstances where excessive doses have been taken, very long cycles undertaken, or specific health issues exist with an individual, there’s going to be a risk of more longer term side effects or health impacts that could be more difficult or even impossible to reverse without medical treatment.
- Cholesterol: Winstrol causes well known issues with your cholesterol levels and these should be monitored closely throughout your cycle. Raised cholesterol can potentially become a long term health issue if you don’t keep it under control and eat a healthy diet.
- Liver damage: Both oral and injectable forms of Winstrol are toxic to the liver, and this is the big reason why cycle lengths of Winstrol need to be kept short at no longer than 8 weeks. Excessive use of Winstrol can result in long term liver damage.
- Hair loss: Those who are genetically predisposed to male pattern hair loss have a high chance of losing hair while using Winstrol.
Most side effects of Winstrol will be short term while you’re using the steroid, with normal function returning a short time after stopping a cycle.
Estrogenic Side Effects
Winstrol is a DHT derived steroid and unlike steroids that are based on the testosterone hormone, DHT based steroids cannot be converted into estrogen. This means Stanozolol comes with no estrogen related side effects at all.
It is not possible for Winstrol to directly cause those well known and dreaded estrogenic side effects of gynecomastia and water retention.
This is the very reason why Winstrol is so desired by physique competitors in particular – it promotes a hard, dry and defined physique making it perfect for competition purposes where bloating caused by fluid retention is unacceptable.
The lack of estrogenic effects are certainly an advantage for athlete users of Winstrol as well, as they are able to avoid the telltale physical signs of anabolic steroid use like bloating.
Androgenic Side Effects
Androgenic side effects are definitely possible with Winstrol, but these will impact everyone differently. Some guys can use Winstrol with virtually no adverse androgenic effects at all, but if you’re one of the unlucky ones with genetics working against you then you can expect to be dealing with some of these well known steroid side effects caused by Winstrol’s androgenic activity.
Although Winstrol’s androgenic effects are overall considered quite weak compared to a lot of other steroids, this means little if you’re predisposed to any of the following:
Some people will have no acne whatsoever on Winstrol and some will see serious flare ups and increased oily skin. This is another genetically dependent side effect, although you can try and take measures to mitigate it somewhat by keeping a clean skin regime.
Still, if your genetics dictate that you’re doing to be sensitive to androgens resulting in acne, there’s not a whole lot you can do to stop it besides ceasing use of Winstrol and your skin should then return to normal.
Also called male pattern baldness. Higher levels of DHT can stimulate the loss of head hair that is so common in older males, but if you’re young then Winstrol can cause you to start losing hair much earlier in life than you otherwise would have.
DHT can cause hair follicles to shrink. This makes the hair from each follicle thinner and shorter, and over time the follicle simply dies which means no more hair growth from that follicle. When this is happening to thousands of follicles at once, you will experience dreaded baldness and it generally occurs in a familiar M shaped pattern on the head – hence the name male pattern baldness.
Hepatotoxic Side Effects
All anabolic steroids can potentially cause all kinds of negative impacts on the liver. Some might be short term only while you’re using the steroid, but others can extend to a much longer term health problem – and anything involving your liver is going to be a serious health problem. Abusing any steroid including Winstrol at too high doses, or for too long periods of time, puts your liver at risk of damage.
It’s well known that oral steroids are particularly harsh on the liver. These are known as C17-alpha alkylated (C17-aa) steroids. Winstrol is quite unique – firstly it comes in both oral and injectable forms, and you might think it’s an easy choice then, just use the injection and avoid liver risks.
But it’s not that simple: because injectable Winstrol is also a C17-aa steroid, which is unusual for an injectable steroid. While the injection as only a very slight less negative impact on the liver than oral Winstrol, they are both liver toxic. Another commonly used oral steroid, Anavar, is less hepatotoxic than both forms of Winstrol so if you’re considering using Winstrol you should be well aware of the risks it can pose to your liver.
If you have any existing liver issues, avoid all use of Winstrol. If you’re healthy and are determined to go ahead with Winstrol, the main reason cycles need to be limited to no more than 8 weeks is because of these liver toxicity risks. Not only that, but you should wait at least two months after a Winstrol cycle before using any other C17-aa steroid; this allows your liver time to return to normal function to avoid permanent damage.
Following common sense guidelines will also help protect your liver during a Winstrol cycle – avoid all alcohol and try not to use any medications unless absolutely necessary, as many are also liver toxic.
Liver support supplements can be used while you’re using Winstrol. Once your Winstrol cycle ends, provided you didn’t use an excessively high dose or a cycle beyond 8 weeks, liver enzymes should return to normal but you can have them measured by a doctor if you’re concerned.
HPTA and Endogenous Testosterone Production Side Effects
There’s no way around the fact that Winstrol is going to suppress your natural testosterone production. It is known as one of the more suppressive steroids, though not the worst by any means.
Despite this, even very low doses have shown in studies to result in over a 50% decrease in testosterone production in just two weeks. As most guys will certainly use Winstrol for longer than this, we can start to understand the need for tesottserone support during any Winstrol cycle.
It won’t bring about a total shutdown on its own but you’ll definitely need to add a testosterone steroid to any Winstrol cycle because low testosterone is a certainty otherwise. PCT is a must-do after using Winstrol to get your testosterone function back on track.
Cardiovascular Side Effects
While liver toxicity is a major concern with Winstrol, an even greater area of concern can be that related to your cardiovascular health. More specifically what Winstrol can potentially do to your cholesterol levels is not to be ignored.
Stanozolol can and will increase bad cholesterol levels (LDL) and decrease levels of good cholesterol (HDL). Low dose medical studies show a very clear negative effect on cholesterol with alarming changes to the LDL/HDL ratio – so we can only imagine what higher doses can do to our cholesterol levels.
The study also showed that these negative changes reversed themselves after 5 weeks of ending use of the steroid – again this was at a low medical dose. Needless to say that you need to be paying very close attention to your cholesterol when using Winstrol. If you have existing high cholesterol, you would be taking a great risk in using Winstrol at all.
Oral steroids are notorious for their impacts on cholesterol, but again when it comes to Winstrol both the oral and injectable forms have the same chemical characteristics so they both have a similar effect on cholesterol.
Even if you have no existing problems with your cholesterol, you would be wise to monitor levels throughout a Winstrol cycle. Eating a diet with cholesterol-friendly foods will help provide some protection. These include high fiber foods and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Avoiding saturated fats as much as possible is important, as is including plenty of cardio into your workouts.
High cholesterol levels can increase your risk of experiencing a stroke or heart disease, so the cardiovascular side effects of Winstrol are simply too important to ignore.
Women Specific Side Effects
There are not many steroids that women can use at all without the certainty of experiencing masculine side effects almost immediately. Winstrol is one of them and although it comes with a higher risk of side effects compared to Anavar, most females can use Winstrol at very low doses and for short cycles while avoiding virilizing side effects.
Bodybuilding and other physique competitors value Winstrol’s dry gains with lack of bloating, but there will always be some risk that you as a female will be more sensitive to Winstrol’s androgenic effects.
The risks that females face with Winstrol include two the same serious side effects men have to watch for: liver toxicity and cholesterol increases.
Additionally, females need to closely monitor any development of virilizing side effects during a Winstrol cycle. These can include:
- Deepening or hoarseness of the voice
- Growth of body hair
- Clitoral enlargement and changes in the menstrual cycle
- Thinning or loss of head hair
Most women taking just 5mg per day of Winstrol can escape the development of the above side effects, while enjoying the benefits of Winstrol. At 10mg daily, the risk increases quite substantially that virilization will begin. At doses anywhere above 10mg per day, it’s almost guaranteed that women will start experiencing masculine side effects.
In most cases these side effects will disappear once the use of Winstrol stops.
Is Winstrol Safe?
All anabolic steroids come with substantial health risks when used outside of medical recommendations. Winstrol is no exception, although it is considered one of the more mild steroids we can use – when compared to a lot of other compounds.
This relative mildness is what makes it one of very few steroids that can also be used by females. The risks of Winstrol should never be discounted though and they are very serious ones: its impacts on the liver and cardiovascular health can in the most extreme cases cause serious harm or death. Sensible and moderate use of Winstrol makes it one of the safer steroids but users should never let their guard down in regards to Stanozolol’s harmful impact on the body.
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Can Winstrol cause heart problems?
One of Winstrol’s most concerning side effect is its impact on heart health, more specifically how it skews your cholesterol levels to favor bad cholesterol while lowering good cholesterol. This can have a very negative effect on your heart if you allow its cholesterol raising effects to go unchecked.
This increases risk of heart disease and stroke and is the most serious side effect that comes with the use of Stanozolol. So much so that it’s strongly recommended that you never use Winstrol if you have existing cholesterol or heart problems.
Does Winstrol raise blood pressure?
Winstrol does not have any estrogenic effects, so there is no fluid retention and that’s often where a raise in blood pressure can impact on steroid users. So while Winstrol won’t increase your blood pressure through estrogenic activity, its negative impact on the cardiovascular system can potentially bring about a blood pressure increase. Elevated blood pressure is noted as a potential side effect in the medical literature for Winstrol.
Can Winstrol turn a woman into a man?
Anabolic steroids, when used by females, lead to the development of male physical features. Women can use Winstrol at very low doses with little or no risk of these virilizing side effects, but at doses of 15mg or more everyday a female runs a high risk of becoming more masculine in many ways. Although she won’t turn into a man, this powerful androgen when used at high doses or for too long will take away femininity and cause a woman to look and sound very different.
Does Winstrol make you angry?
Winstrol is not widely known as a steroid that causes “roid rage”, or increased anger or mood changes. As always some individuals might experience this, and it is considered a rare side effects along with depression. Some users will see a positive increase in aggression that can be used in gym to increase your workout intensity.
Can Winstrol cause hair loss?
Winstrol causes androgenic side effects in some male users, and this can include loss of head hair or male pattern baldness. Men who are not programmed genetically to experience baldness won’t experience this side effect, but if your DNA contains the male hair loss gene, you’re out of luck and you’re almost certain to see some level of hair loss while using Winstrol.
Winstrol is an amazing steroid that, when used properly and for specific purposes, can result in an astonishing body transformation or gains to performance very quickly. The positive sides of Stanozolol are truly amazing.
Even though Winstrol has been used for many decades, it doesn’t make it a safe steroid to buy and use. No steroid can ever be considered safe and Winstrol clearly comes with some pretty serious potential health risks that go beyond just the annoyances of steroid use like getting a bit of acne.